Welcome to the first article of the SoloStrength at-home exercise series. In this article, we will be covering the Glutes. Regardless of what’s being worn, it’s one of the most noticeable muscles when developed. This guide has been created with the goal of helping you train them properly.
First, we need to go over the muscles and what they do. The glutes are made up of 3 muscles. The gluteus maximus, which makes up the bulk of this muscle, is the main hip extender, allowing you to straighten your leg and pull it back. The supporting gluteus medius and minimus (upper glutes) muscles are hip stabilizers and help with movement in other directions. While there are other hip muscles and stabilizers, they are not the focus of this article.
Weakness in the glutes can cause several problems. The first and most immediate is difficulty climbing stairs or sitting up from a chair. Another is hip-drop. Weakness in the gluteus medius leads to difficulty keeping your hips parallel while walking. Over time, this can lead to wear and tear of the joints and arthritis in both the hips and knees. Although these are some of the problems, the main reason many spend time training their glutes is that a well-formed butt is sought after by both genders.
Get on your hands and knees, keeping your back straight.
Extend and straighten one leg so it is in line with your back.
Lower the leg and rest your weight on that leg.
Raise the other leg.
Lay on your side with your legs straight.
While keeping your knees straight, raise one leg up to a 90-degree angle, or as high as you can go.
Lower it back down.
When done, roll over and switch sides.
It’s important that you keep your hips straight and perpendicular to the ground for this exercise. If you are turned too much facing upwards, it will work the hip flexors instead. Turned too much facing downwards and you will have a difficult time raising your leg, as that is not within the hip's normal range of motion. This exercise will target the gluteus medius and minimus (upper glutes) the most.
Stand up straight, feet shoulder-width apart (or whatever is comfortable).
Bend your hips and knees as if you are beginning to sit on a stool.
Lower yourself just past the point of your thigh being parallel to the ground - if you have the mobility to go further and feel comfortable doing so, feel free to go down lower.
Pause at the bottom for 1 second, then straighten your hips and knees to rise back up.
This is a great exercise that also targets the Quads, with support from the Abs.
Stand up straight with one leg off the ground.
Hold on to something to help with balance, like the SoloStrength Training Stations.
Bend the weight-bearing knee and hip so you go down below parallel.
Push off the ground to come back up.
This is a difficult exercise, both in terms of balance and strength required. Make sure you build plenty of strength with the regular squat before attempting this one. Just like the squat, you can target your glutes by focusing your awareness on that area as opposed to the quads.
You will need either a bench or the SoloStrength Training Station with the adjustable bar set 1-2 feet off the ground.
With one foot planted on the floor slightly in front of you, take the top of the other foot and rest it on the bench or bar.
Lower yourself as you would with a single-leg squat.
Push yourself back up.
This is an easier-to-control alternative to the single-leg squat. Not only is it easier to balance, but your can push with your other leg as well. Try varying the distance from the bar to find a position that is comfortable for you.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and extend one leg straight in front of you.
Keep your balance by holding onto a sturdy object or countertop if needed.
Slowly lower your body down as you bend your standing leg, keeping your extended leg elevated off the ground.
Go down as far as you can while maintaining proper form and keeping your chest up.
Push back up to the starting position through your heel.
Repeat on the other leg.
It is important to maintain good form and not to let your knee collapse inward as you lower your body. Start with a limited range of motion and gradually increase it as you build strength.
It can greatly assist progress and form to use a SoloStrength Adjustable Exercise Bar (the ULTIMATE Series Training Stations) to keep balance, enhancing focus and form.
Lie flat on your back and bend your knees around 90 degrees.
Rest your feet flat on the floor.
Push through your feet and drive your hips forward.
Your weight should be on your upper back and both feet.
Relax and slowly bring your hips back down.
Just like the glute bridge exercise mentioned in the Hamstrings exercises, this can also target the glutes. You will want to focus your awareness on the glutes as opposed to the hamstrings to get the most out of them. Add static resistance with fixed SoloStrength Exercise Bar.
This is almost identical to the previous exercise, but you need a bench or something else around 1-2 feet high that you can rest on.
Sit with your feet flat in front of the bench, facing away from it.
Lean back so that your shoulder blades are touching the bench.
Push off of the bench and your feet so that you can drive your hips upward.
Your body should be roughly parallel to the floor.
Relax and allow yourself to sit back down.
This exercise gives you more of a range of motion than glute bridges, and therefore can give your glutes a better workout. If you are looking for even more of a challenge, allow yourself to lower without touching the ground. This will keep your glutes engaged throughout the whole workout.
Drive with your hips. The glutes have incredible strength and endurance. Driving with your hips will allow you to push out additional reps without as much difficulty.
Push through your knees. Instead of pushing through your feet, you will have better form and control pushing through your knees and thighs as if you were standing up from a chair.
Engage your core. The abs maintain the posture of the torso and stabilize the hips. Engaging them means your glutes and hip flexors are balanced, easing the movements.
Chest out and brace. Take a deep breath through your abdomen, then tighten it, pushing the air into your chest. Your chest should rise, straightening your posture.
Focus on the small improvements. You don’t need to double your reps and sets overnight. Even one additional rep counts as growth. You’re trying to win the way, not every battle. So long as you are consistent, you will achieve your goals.
This article is the first in a series on legs. Next up are the Calves and Anterior Tibs.
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Posted: February 2, 2023
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